Chinotimba disrupts May Day celebrations in style


0

War veterans leaders Joseph Chinotimba disrupted May Day celebrations at Rufaro Stadium in style when he arrived in a chauffeur-driven Limo with about 1 000 Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front youths following him in buses.

Chinotimba tried to force his way to the stage where Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union leaders were seated but was barred by Movement for Democratic Change supporters and University of Zimbabwe students.

Heavily armed riot police had to intercede to keep the two groups from clashing.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE1515, ZIMBABWE LABOR DAY CELEBRATION DISRUPTED BY WAR

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1515

2001-05-04 10:14

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

041014Z May 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2167

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01515 051624Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00   EUR-00

VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00

TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

SAS-00     /009W

——————E7D11E 051624Z /23

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8796

INFO NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001515

 

SIPDIS

 

DRL/IL FOR KBRYANT

NSC FOR JFRAZER

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL 05/04/11

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01515 051624Z

TAGS: ELAB PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR DAY CELEBRATION DISRUPTED BY WAR

VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS

 

REF: HARARE 1447

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

 

1. (U) THE ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (ZCTU) MAY

DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT RUFARO STADIUM IN HARARE ON MAY

1, WITH A CROWD ESTIMATED AT ABOUT 6,000 WORKERS, WAS

DISRUPTED BY THE ARRIVAL OF WAR VETERANS AND RULING

PARTY SUPPORTERS SHORTLY AFTER THE ZCTU SECRETARY-

GENERAL, WELLINGTON CHIBHEBHE, HAD CONCLUDED HIS OPENING

REMARKS. THE NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE HARARE WAR VETERANS

ASSOCIATION, AND PREVIOUSLY THE SELF-STYLED LEADER OF

FARM INVASIONS, JOSEPH CHINOTIMBA, ARRIVED AT THE

STADIUM IN A CHAUFFEURED LIMO, WITH ABOUT 1000 ZIMBABWE

AFRICAN NATIONAL UNION-PATRIOTIC FRONT (ZANU-PF)

SUPPORTERS FOLLOWING IN BUSES. WHEN CHINOTIMBA ENTERED

THE STADIUM AND TRIED TO FORCE HIS WAY TO THE STAGE

WHERE THE MEMBERS OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE WERE SEATED,

THERE OCCURRED A STANDOFF BETWEEN MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) SUPPORTERS (THE MAJORITY BEING

UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE STUDENTS), INTENT ON KEEPING

CHINOTIMBA OFF THE STAGE, AND A GROUP OF RULING PARTY

YOUTHS BROUGHT IN BY CHINOTIMBA, INTENT ON GETTING HIM

TO THE STAGE. HEAVILY ARMED RIOT POLICE HAD TO

INTERCEDE TO KEEP THE TWO GROUPS FROM CLASHING.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01515 051624Z

2. (U) AS THE STANDOFF CONTINUED ON THE FLOOR OF THE

STADIUM, THE ZCTU PRESIDENT, LOVEMORE MATOMBO, DECIDED

TO GO AHEAD WITH HIS PRESENTATION. HIS ADDRESS

HIGHLIGHTED THE MYRIAD PROBLEMS THAT ZIMBABWE’S WORKERS

FACE AS THE ECONOMY CONTINUES ITS RAPID COLLAPSE AND THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) FAILS TO PROVIDE PROGRAMS

OR POLICIES TO HALT THE COLLAPSE OR PROVIDE A SAFETY NET

FOR WORKERS. AMONG OTHER ISSUES, MATOMBO HIGHLIGHTED

THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE THAT WILL MAINTAIN

WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES ABOVE THE POVERTY LINE, A

DESIRE THAT THE ZCTU BE GIVEN 25 PERCENT OF THE NATIONAL

HIV/AIDS LEVY (WHICH IS A TAX ON WORKERS EARNINGS) IN

ORDER TO CONDUCT WORKPLACE HIV/AIDS EDUCATION PROGRAMS,

AND THE NEED TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT LABOR TRIBUNAL

TO SPEED UP THE RESOLUTION OF LABOR DISPUTES TAKEN TO

COURT (NOTE: THERE IS CURRENTLY A FIVE-YEAR BACKLOG OF

LABOR CASES IN THE COURTS. END NOTE.)

 

3. (U) AFTER MATOMBO COMPLETED HIS ADDRESS, THE MEMBERS

OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE LEFT THE STADIUM. CHINOTIMBA WAS

THEN ALLOWED ONTO THE STAGE. WHEN HE TOOK THE

MICROPHONE AND BEGAN TO ADDRESS THE CROWD, THE ASSEMBLED

WORKERS BEGAN STREAMING FROM THE STADIUM. AT THE

BEGINNING OF HIS ADDRESS HE CRITICIZED THE ZCTU FOR NOT

LOOKING AFTER THE INTERESTS OF WORKERS, AND ENCOURAGED

WORKERS TO TURN TO ZANU-PF FOR ASSISTANCE. THIS WAS MET

BY LOUD BOOING FROM THE CROWD AS IT FILED OUT OF THE

STADIUM. CHINOTIMBA ENDED UP ADDRESSING ONLY AN

ESTIMATED 2,000 PEOPLE, OF WHOM HALF WERE THE ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS WHO HAD BEEN BUSED IN. HE READ OFF A LIST OF

COMPANIES THAT THE WAR VETS WOULD SOON BE “VISITING” IN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01515 051624Z

HARARE ON WORKERS BEHALF, TO THE CHEERING APPROVAL OF

THE BUSED IN ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS.

 

4. (U) THE MAY DAY CELEBRATION IN HARARE, AND OTHERS IN

LARGER CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS ZIMBABWE, WERE MARKED BY

DECREASED ATTENDANCE FROM PRIOR YEARS AS A RESULT OF THE

HYPER-CHARGED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT IN THE COUNTRY, AS

WELL AS THE SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS, WHICH HAS SEEN TENS

OF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS IN THE FORMAL SECTOR LOSE THEIR

JOBS AS COMPANIES LAY OFF STAFF OR SHUT DOWN.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: CHINOTIMBA’S GATE-CRASHING OF HARARE’S

MAY DAY CELEBRATION WAS EXPECTED BY THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE.

CHINOTIMBA IS SPEARHEADING ZANU-PF’S URBAN CAMPAIGN TO

CAUSE DIVISION AND DISSENSION IN LABOR’S RANKS, AND

WEAKEN THE ZCTU AHEAD OF THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTION. AS PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN, CHINOTIMBA RECENTLY

PROCLAIMED HIMSELF PRESIDENT OF THE ZCTU, ALTHOUGH THIS

PROCLAMATION WAS IMMEDIATELY REFUTED BY THE LAWFULLY

ELECTED ZCTU PRESIDENT. CHINOTIMBA AND THE WAR VETERANS

HE LEADS IN HARARE HAVE BEEN BEHIND THE RECENT INVASIONS

OF COMPANIES AND SOME NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN

HARARE (REFTEL). THEY HAVE ENTERED BUSINESSES AND

SHAKEN DOWN MANAGEMENT, FORCING THEM TO PAY COMPENSATION

TO WORKERS WHO HAVE HAD LABOR DISPUTES WITH THESE

COMPANIES. WE PREDICT THAT THIS CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO

FAIL TO GAIN WIDESPREAD WORKER SUPPORT. WHILE SOME

WORKERS WHO HAVE BEEN FIRED OR AGGRIEVED WILL TAKE UP

CHINOTIMBA ON HIS OFFER TO EXTRACT SOME EXTRA CASH FROM

THEIR FORMER EMPLOYERS, THE MAJORITY OF WORKERS

RECOGNIZE THAT IN THE LONG-RUN THESE ACTIONS WILL ONLY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 05       HARARE 01515 051624Z

RESULT IN MORE CLOSINGS AND JOB LOSSES.   IN ADDITION,

THE ZCTU AND ITS AFFILIATED UNIONS ARE HIGHLY ORGANIZED,

WITH TWENTY YEARS OF LABOR UNION ACTIVISM BEHIND THEM.

THEY ARE ACTIVELY REACHING OUT TO THEIR MEMBERSHIP TO

SPREAD THEIR MESSAGE ON POLICY CHANGES NEEDED TO HELP

WORKERS, AND IN HIGHLIGHTING THE FAILURE OF THE ZANU-PF-

LED GOVERNMENT TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC

CRISIS. AS A RESULT, THE MAJORITY OF WORKERS REMAIN

UNITED BEHIND THEIR UNIONS AND THE ZCTU LEADERSHIP, AND

CONTINUE TO STRONGLY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION MDC. END

COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

@@@[email protected]@@

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2152

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01515 01 OF 02 051505Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00

UTED-00 H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02   PM-00   PRS-00   P-00     SP-00

SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   PRM-01   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00     /007W

——————E7CE0E 051505Z /07

R 041014Z MAY 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8796

INFO NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001515

 

SIPDIS

 

DRL/IL FOR KBRYANT

NSC FOR JFRAZER

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL 05/04/11

TAGS: ELAB PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01515 01 OF 02 051505Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR DAY CELEBRATION DISRUPTED BY WAR

VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS

 

REF: HARARE 1447

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

 

1. (U) THE ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (ZCTU) MAY

DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT RUFARO STADIUM IN HARARE ON MAY

1, WITH A CROWD ESTIMATED AT ABOUT 6,000 WORKERS, WAS

DISRUPTED BY THE ARRIVAL OF WAR VETERANS AND RULING

PARTY SUPPORTERS SHORTLY AFTER THE ZCTU SECRETARY-

GENERAL, WELLINGTON CHIBHEBHE, HAD CONCLUDED HIS OPENING

REMARKS. THE NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE HARARE WAR VETERANS

ASSOCIATION, AND PREVIOUSLY THE SELF-STYLED LEADER OF

FARM INVASIONS, JOSEPH CHINOTIMBA, ARRIVED AT THE

STADIUM IN A CHAUFFEURED LIMO, WITH ABOUT 1000 ZIMBABWE

AFRICAN NATIONAL UNION-PATRIOTIC FRONT (ZANU-PF)

SUPPORTERS FOLLOWING IN BUSES. WHEN CHINOTIMBA ENTERED

THE STADIUM AND TRIED TO FORCE HIS WAY TO THE STAGE

WHERE THE MEMBERS OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE WERE SEATED,

THERE OCCURRED A STANDOFF BETWEEN MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) SUPPORTERS (THE MAJORITY BEING

UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE STUDENTS), INTENT ON KEEPING

CHINOTIMBA OFF THE STAGE, AND A GROUP OF RULING PARTY

YOUTHS BROUGHT IN BY CHINOTIMBA, INTENT ON GETTING HIM

TO THE STAGE. HEAVILY ARMED RIOT POLICE HAD TO

INTERCEDE TO KEEP THE TWO GROUPS FROM CLASHING.

 

2. (U) AS THE STANDOFF CONTINUED ON THE FLOOR OF THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01515 01 OF 02 051505Z

STADIUM, THE ZCTU PRESIDENT, LOVEMORE MATOMBO, DECIDED

TO GO AHEAD WITH HIS PRESENTATION. HIS ADDRESS

HIGHLIGHTED THE MYRIAD PROBLEMS THAT ZIMBABWE’S WORKERS

FACE AS THE ECONOMY CONTINUES ITS RAPID COLLAPSE AND THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) FAILS TO PROVIDE PROGRAMS

OR POLICIES TO HALT THE COLLAPSE OR PROVIDE A SAFETY NET

FOR WORKERS. AMONG OTHER ISSUES, MATOMBO HIGHLIGHTED

THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE THAT WILL MAINTAIN

WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES ABOVE THE POVERTY LINE, A

DESIRE THAT THE ZCTU BE GIVEN 25 PERCENT OF THE NATIONAL

HIV/AIDS LEVY (WHICH IS A TAX ON WORKERS EARNINGS) IN

ORDER TO CONDUCT WORKPLACE HIV/AIDS EDUCATION PROGRAMS,

AND THE NEED TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT LABOR TRIBUNAL

TO SPEED UP THE RESOLUTION OF LABOR DISPUTES TAKEN TO

COURT (NOTE: THERE IS CURRENTLY A FIVE-YEAR BACKLOG OF

LABOR CASES IN THE COURTS. END NOTE.)

 

3. (U) AFTER MATOMBO COMPLETED HIS ADDRESS, THE MEMBERS

OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE LEFT THE STADIUM. CHINOTIMBA WAS

THEN ALLOWED ONTO THE STAGE. WHEN HE TOOK THE

MICROPHONE AND BEGAN TO ADDRESS THE CROWD, THE ASSEMBLED

WORKERS BEGAN STREAMING FROM THE STADIUM. AT THE

BEGINNING OF HIS ADDRESS HE CRITICIZED THE ZCTU FOR NOT

LOOKING AFTER THE INTERESTS OF WORKERS, AND ENCOURAGED

WORKERS TO TURN TO ZANU-PF FOR ASSISTANCE. THIS WAS MET

BY LOUD BOOING FROM THE CROWD AS IT FILED OUT OF THE

STADIUM. CHINOTIMBA ENDED UP ADDRESSING ONLY AN

ESTIMATED 2,000 PEOPLE, OF WHOM HALF WERE THE ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS WHO HAD BEEN BUSED IN. HE READ OFF A LIST OF

COMPANIES THAT THE WAR VETS WOULD SOON BE “VISITING” IN

HARARE ON WORKERS BEHALF, TO THE CHEERING APPROVAL OF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01515 01 OF 02 051505Z

THE BUSED IN ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS.

 

4. (U) THE MAY DAY CELEBRATION IN HARARE, AND OTHERS IN

LARGER CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS ZIMBABWE, WERE MARKED BY

DECREASED ATTENDANCE FROM PRIOR YEARS AS A RESULT OF THE

HYPER-CHARGED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT IN THE COUNTRY, AS

WELL AS THE SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS, WHICH HAS SEEN TENS

OF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS IN THE FORMAL SECTOR LOSE THEIR

JOBS AS COMPANIES LAY OFF STAFF OR SHUT DOWN.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: CHINOTIMBA’S GATE-CRASHING OF HARARE’S

MAY DAY CELEBRATION WAS EXPECTED BY THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE.

CHINOTIMBA IS SPEARHEADING ZANU-PF’S URBAN CAMPAIGN TO

CAUSE DIVISION AND DISSENSION IN LABOR’S RANKS, AND

WEAKEN THE ZCTU AHEAD OF THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTION. AS PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN, CHINOTIMBA RECENTLY

PROCLAIMED HIMSELF PRESIDENT OF THE ZCTU, ALTHOUGH THIS

PROCLAMATION WAS IMMEDIATELY REFUTED BY THE LAWFULLY

ELECTED ZCTU PRESIDENT. CHINOTIMBA AND THE WAR VETERANS

HE LEADS IN HARARE HAVE BEEN BEHIND THE RECENT INVASIONS

OF COMPANIES AND SOME NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN

HARARE (REFTEL). THEY HAVE ENTERED BUSINESSES AND

SHAKEN DOWN MANAGEMENT, FORCING THEM TO PAY COMPENSATION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2153

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01515 02 OF 02 051505Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00

UTED-00 H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02   PM-00   PRS-00   P-00     SP-00

SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   PRM-01   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00    /007W

——————E7CE0F 051505Z /07

R 041014Z MAY 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8797

INFO NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 001515

 

SIPDIS

 

DRL/IL FOR KBRYANT

NSC FOR JFRAZER

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL 05/04/11

TAGS: ELAB PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01515 02 OF 02 051505Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR DAY CELEBRATION DISRUPTED BY WAR

VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS

 

TO WORKERS WHO HAVE HAD LABOR DISPUTES WITH THESE

COMPANIES. WE PREDICT THAT THIS CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO

FAIL TO GAIN WIDESPREAD WORKER SUPPORT. WHILE SOME

WORKERS WHO HAVE BEEN FIRED OR AGGRIEVED WILL TAKE UP

CHINOTIMBA ON HIS OFFER TO EXTRACT SOME EXTRA CASH FROM

THEIR FORMER EMPLOYERS, THE MAJORITY OF WORKERS

RECOGNIZE THAT IN THE LONG-RUN THESE ACTIONS WILL ONLY

RESULT IN MORE CLOSINGS AND JOB LOSSES.   IN ADDITION,

THE ZCTU AND ITS AFFILIATED UNIONS ARE HIGHLY ORGANIZED,

WITH TWENTY YEARS OF LABOR UNION ACTIVISM BEHIND THEM.

THEY ARE ACTIVELY REACHING OUT TO THEIR MEMBERSHIP TO

SPREAD THEIR MESSAGE ON POLICY CHANGES NEEDED TO HELP

WORKERS, AND IN HIGHLIGHTING THE FAILURE OF THE ZANU-PF-

LED GOVERNMENT TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC

CRISIS. AS A RESULT, THE MAJORITY OF WORKERS REMAIN

UNITED BEHIND THEIR UNIONS AND THE ZCTU LEADERSHIP, AND

CONTINUE TO STRONGLY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION MDC. END

COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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